Straightening the chair

August 14, 2008

I was disappointed to note that it could be inferred from your magazine that a black member of our staff, Udy Archibong, was appointed to a chair in 2004 as some form of reward for withdrawing a complaint of racially motivated harassment ("Bradford calls in external race adviser", 3 July). This is unfounded and untrue.

I would wish to put on record that the normal personal chair procedure was followed to retain the services of Archibong following approaches from at least two other universities for her services.

She had a significant research record, major external funding and played a leading national and international reputation in diversity issues. External assessors were used to judge the application and arrive at the recommendation for a personal chair. The complaint that you suggest was withdrawn was, in fact, heard, along with others, through the appropriate HR procedures operating at the time.

While I have acknowledged failings on the part of the university in dealing with two cases of racial discrimination, it is regrettable that, in reporting these, Times Higher Education should make such an inference in relation to the promotion of a member of this university.

Mark Cleary, Vice-chancellor and principal, Bradford University.

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